How S. C. Daily Newspapers Framed the Removal of the Confederate Flag from the State House Grounds in 2015 Through Letters to the Editor and Editorials

Thomas Craig Anderson


The removal of the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in Columbia, South Carolina during the summer of 2015 was an action that had been discussed previously in the state since the flag went up over the State House in 1961. While the state legislature acted swiftly to have the flag removed after Gov. Nikki Haley’s announcement on June 22, the two and a half weeks between her announcement and removal on July 10 was filled with opinions from citizens all across the state and in areas of the United States where Confederate monuments and memorials still have a public presence. Newspapers in the state facilitated a platform in which these varying opinions could be expressed between the readers with their letters to the editor section and provided some of their own views in the editorial section. These two sections of the local daily newspapers in South Carolina were examined for the arguments and primary points of concern made by the writers regarding the Confederate flag’s removal. A framing analysis of the letters to the editor and editorials in local newspapers across South Carolina revealed five distinct frames of perspective on the flag’s removal. Additionally, some of the writers advocated for the flag to be removed or to remain on a monument on the State House grounds. The results showed some distinct patterns between the circulation sizes of newspapers and regions of the state where the newspapers were published and what frames were used as well as calls to action regarding the flag.